Tamariki Restoration Project
Tamariki is about to be restored to her race winning form but we need your help to raise the much needed funds to make her a champion again!
Tamariki Restoration Project
Tamariki is about to be reborn and to once again take her place in the resurgent L Class Mullet Boat racing fleet. But we need your help to raise the much needed funds to make her a sailing champion again.
Tamariki is one of the most well known racing boats in the Auckland yachting scene. She is also the most famous mullet boat ever built, with far and away the most impressive race record including thirteen Lipton Cup wins and twenty-one back to back wins in her best racing season.
Tamariki is about to be restored to her race winning form, once again to join her sisters on the race track and with the ultimate goal of another tilt at glory, The one hundredth Lipton Cup!
Designed by Chas Collings and built by Collings and Bell in 1934.
Thirteen times Lipton Cup winner 1935 - 1968.
We have just taken possession of Tamariki from Russell Irwin, who has been her custodian for the last little while and ensured her protection and safekeeping for such a time as this. We are both boat-builders and mullet boat enthusiasts and have been involved in the class since the 1970's. Our intent is to restore her hull to its original classic looks, faithful to the Chas Collings design and style but using modern materials and techniques, as was done with the highly successful 'Valeria' L 8. She will be fitted out with an up-to-date modern Bermuda rig and equipment. The end result will, we believe, be true to her and her class origins and also to her designer, builders and custodians of the past. She will be the classic Tamariki - a high performance, race competitive Mullet Boat.
We hope that his project will whet the appetite and imagination of Ponsonby Cruising Club members and all who have had the pleasure of her company in the past. We also hope she will be a rallying point of common interest for all who are interested in seeing this great boat sailing again.
Restoration and rebirth of well known 22ft mullet boat Tamariki L 11
It began for us one Sunday morning when I opened my emails and found one from my friend Jeff showing a photograph of what looked to be a boat hull in rather a forlorn condition sitting in a shed. He suspected it was a mullet boat and was asking me if I was able to identify her given that I owned one and had been around them for a number of years. I recognised her straight away as I had previously seen a pic of her taken by another enthusiast some years before. I mailed back to him and told him it was the 'mighty Tamariki'. His immediate reply was 'Oh thank God, I can stop them from cutting her up and taking her to the tip...'
She had been sitting in the shed which belonged to the Auckland council for over twenty years and it seemed that the authorities wanted her out because they needed the room. They'd lost touch with who owned her and were simply going to get rid of her. Fortunately, before they did they contacted Jeff, who worked for the Auckland Council in the Doc department and whom they knew as a wooden boat enthusiast (a Woollacott fanatic and owner of three,) so after having spoken with me he was able to 'stay the execution' while I contacted the owner and let him know what was about to occur.
Russell Irwin bought Tamariki in 1980 fully intending to restore her after her years of being constantly campaigned, and many changes of ownership. She was soft and worn out and in desperate need of a refit. Sadly, and as often happens new family and other issues intervened and the project came to a halt. But Russell remained involved with the mullet boat community and at different times, offered the boat to others to carry on where he left off. It was a rather daunting task for most and she languished in the shed, but importantly she was safe and dry until that fateful Sunday morning email.
I immediately called Russell and told him what had passed between myself and Jeff and that began a chain of events which led to her being taken away from the council shed to a place of safety. I knew my friend Martin had a trailer so I called him and let him know what was happening and five days later we were on our way to the yard at Robertson Boats in Warkworth, and soon after to a weather proof shed at my brother-in-laws nearby. In the interim Martin and I suggested to Russell that we might be able to take on the job of restoring her given that we are both boat builders and know what would be required. He agreed, with the condition that the boat would be rebuilt with the intent of including her back in the racing fleet, to be competitive again where she belonged with her sisters. We were easily able to meet his conditions because that had been our idea from the beginning so Russell was happy to pass her into our possession.
So our plan is to restore her hull to its original classic looks, faithful to the Chas Collings design and style but using modern materials and techniques as was done with the highly successful 'Valeria' L8. She will be fitted out with an up-to-date modern bermuda rig and equipment. The end result will, we believe, be true to her and her class origins and also to her designer, builders and custodians of the past. She will be the classic Tamariki- a high performance, race competitive Mullet boat.
Tamariki has an impressive reputation and race record to live up to. Built in 1934 by Collings and Bell she won her first Lipton cup in 1935 from Valeria and went on to win a total of thirteen races for the coveted annual trophy, the last in 1968 under the command of Dave Jackson. Her best seasons performance saw twenty-one wins from twenty-one starts. The 100th Lipton cup will be sailed in 2021 and our intent is to have her well and truly sailing before this centenary celebration, and tuned for another tilt at the coveted honour.
We hope that this project will whet the appetite and imagination of the Auckland yachting community and all those who have had the pleasure of her company in the past. We also hope she will be a rallying point of common interest for all who are interested in seeing this great boat sailing again.
Please contact either Rob Warring or Martin Robertson should you wish to contribute in any way, or have and queries or suggestions in that regard...or even just a bit of encouragement...!
Mullet boats, A short history.
Mullet boats evolved in the early 1880's in answer to the need for a specific kind of vessel able to fish for the mullet which were abundant in the many shallow mangrove creeks and estuaries around the Hauraki gulf. The requirements were that they were shallow draught, reasonably easy to handle for a crew of two and with a turn of speed to get the catch back to Auckland early and in fresh saleable condition. The result was a round bilge flat bottomed boat with a steel center-board, a ton of ballast and a fairly large spread of sail. The salted catch was carried in fish boxes either side of the center-case and there was room forward for the crew to sleep on the over-night trips. By the turn of the century the local yachting fraternity were beginning to see their potential as pleasure boats given their roominess for size, and the excitement of racing them as a class of their own. The Ponsonby Cruising Club became home for the class and as a result, rules were implemented for the development of the three main racing fleets, the 20's, 22's and 26's. Of these three, it has been the 22 footers which have survived and thrived into the 21st century, largely due to the annual competition for the coveted Lipton Cup, and unchanged in shape and sail area except for the move from gaff rig to the modern Bermuda rig. The attraction to those who sail these boats is the pure adrenalin of dealing with the massive sail area compared with the size of the boat itself, and also the skill required to keep them at top flight and upright in the heat of the close racing each week-end here off West-Haven. They have been part of the developing career of many of Auckland's top yachtsmen and can continue to play that role for many more young hopefuls in the Auckland yachting scene.
The Lipton Cup - A short history.
Sir Thomas Lipton of Lipton tea fame and a major British challenger for the America's Cup in the early 20th century, first became involved with the Ponsonby Cruising Club in 1904 after having been offered the honorary position of Vice-president of the club. He gladly accepted and was duly kept informed over the years of the clubs activities and progress. In 1920 Sir Thomas gifted a cup for competition to the P.C.C. with the suggestion that it be "a challenge cup for annual competition, and be open as far as possible to New Zealand yachtsmen generally." After much debate by the flag officers and committee of the time it was decided that it would be raced for by the 22ft L class mullet boats, as it was an established class with good numbers and that each boat would represent a nominated club from anywhere in Auckland and through-out the Dominion.
The first boat to win the trophy was Valeria in 1922 and it has been competed for every year right up to the present day. The most prolific winner of the cup was Tamariki which won it a total of thirteen times in her career. Many others have had their successes and the competition is always fierce, often with 'gun' skippers being brought in to get the best out of the boats. While in recent years a number of new boats have been built with modern construction methods and up to date rigs, it is worth noting that the Valeria which was designed and built by the Logan family in 1913 placed second in the previous two Lipton Cup competitions and is still being campaigned to achieve another well earned win. She can be seen here with the other boats on 'J' finger.
As for the cup itself, it is a beautiful trophy, physically bigger and more ornate than the 'America's Cup' and can be viewed in pride of place in the trophy cabinet up in the P.C.C club rooms.
Rob Warring's involvement (page creator)
Martin Robertson and I are both boat-builders and mullet boat enthusiasts and have been involved in the class since the 1970's. We will be undertaking the restoration.
Dear Mr Skinner, Thank you for your valuable donation, we are making progress and it won't be long before we will be hands on and bringing her back to life. Once again, many thanks. Rob Warring Martin Robertson
Dear Sir, Thank you for your valuable donation. We are saddened that you part of the country has been ravaged again and we are even more grateful that you made this contribution in the circumstances. Once again, Thank you. Rob Warring, Martin Robertson
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This page was created on 1 Nov 2016 and closed on 18 Mar 2017.